July 11, 2006  


Granger, Bono Re-Introduce Measure to Combat Obesity


WASHINGTON, D.C.-Recently, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) co-sponsored comprehensive legislation with Congresswoman Mary Bono (R-CA) aimed at reducing obesity, particularly among children and adolescents. The Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity (IMPACT) Act (H.R. 5698) recognizes the serious health issues that arise from obesity and seeks to reduce those problems by using proven and innovative programs to encourage healthier lifestyles.

"Obesity is one of our most preventable public health problems, but it is also one of our fastest rising, affecting every segment of our population," said Granger. "Poor nutrition and physical inactivity don't simply cause cosmetic harm. Obesity directly increases the risk of deadly diseases and drains valuable resources from our health care system."

The prevalence of obesity is increasing among all age groups. Government statistics show that almost 65 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight; about 31 percent of adults are obese, which is 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. There are twice the number of overweight children and three times the number of overweight adolescents as there were 30 years ago.

Texas is no exception to the national trend. From 1991 to 2001, obesity in adults in Texas increased from 13 to 25 percent. On average, 20 percent of Texas kids between the ages of 11 and 17 are overweight. According to the Department of State Health Services, the cost of obesity per school district in Texas is $95,000 a year.

Overweight individuals have an increased risk for the two leading causes of death in our country, heart disease and cancer. These individuals also have an increased risk for diabetes and musculo-skeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are associated with being overweight or obese.

Given the many health risks associated with obesity, the IMPACT Act would fund several strategies with demonstrable success in improving diet and lifestyle. The bill would increase training for health professionals to diagnose, treat, and prevent obesity. It would also provide funding to states and communities to help them create nutrition programs, increase recreational options, and raise public awareness about the health risks of being overweight.

"The IMPACT Act represents a commonsense approach to reverse the obesity epidemic," said Granger. "Better information, improved nutrition and increased physical activity can help make us a leaner, healthier America."

Granger serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. She also serves as a Deputy Majority Whip. Granger is the first and only female Republican to serve in the Texas House delegation. Granger represents the 12th District of Texas and is currently serving her fifth term in Congress.